A Surprise Encounter with Crispy Sex Pirates
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Centre Pugilist Justine Everwood patrolled the area. It was Shark Week, and her superiors had tasked her with defending the beach against the Selachian menace.

The moon peeked out over the staggered shore. Where the sea seethed and sloshed over the dock, the night brought its own monsters out to play. The terrifying glare of a half-shark, half-squid, and half-human abomination rose from the deep, defying the laws of fractions in its wake.

Everwood met the Deviant at the edge of the sea. "Why are you here?" she asked.

It spoke with a voice of crushed glass. "I'm here to impress you, my lady."

"How would you do that?"

"To be honest, I didn't think I would get this far." The sharktopus-man shrugged. "What might impress you on this frightful night?"

"Hmm." She thought for a moment. "Why don't you tell me a story?"

"A story?"

She nodded.

"Let's see. It was a dark and stormy night —"

KLUNK. The Deviant buckled onto the dock. Spittle showered the pugilist that punched him.

The sharktopus wheezed. "The fuck is wrong with you?"

She giggled from behind two raised fists — one fleshy, one mechanical — "I've heard that story before! You can try again, but it better be good, or there's more where that came from."

The sharktopus half-ambled, half-fell back into the waves, too afraid of the fists to give a proper response. Even the froth of the open ocean was better than those fists. A few bubbles popped on the surface, and then he was gone.

Justine Everwood skipped back to her perch further up the beach. Night watch duty was hardly her favourite thing in the world, but it sure had its perks.

She climbed the lifeguard tower and sat on its edge.

She gazed out over the ocean.

The ocean gazed back.

"…Huh?"

Out past the dock, a ship that wasn't there before shimmered into view.

Points of light grew into a skeletal frame of composite metal; two large masts vertically bisected a ragged hull, looking more like two shark tails than anything resembling a functional support structure. The entire ship, bow to stern, floated a precarious three meters in the air, only just cresting the harsh waves beneath. On its starboard side, peeling white paint signalled the vessel's name:

Daddy's Princess


A single metal plank connected to the dock. Three decrepit humanoids walked down to the shore.

"Hey, this is a private beach. You can't be here!" Everwood jumped down from the steps and marched up to the mystery figures.

The one at the front spoke first. "I reckon we're in the right place." His zombified jowls exposed a bony jaw underneath them as he spoke.

Everwood got a better look at the intruders. Gangrenous, necrotized flesh and tissue hung down in rotting folds from each of their bodies. "Identify yourselves!"

"I'm Cap'n Shirley, and this 'ere's my operating crew, Nessie 'n' Billie —"

Everwood swung. Shirley ducked. 3,000 newtons of raw cybernetic fist pelted Billie straight through the gut. Flesh exploded. Everwood jolted back but found herself stuck: her wrist was caught in the gut flora.

"Let go of me!" She yanked back, head bobbing in the process. Parts of Billie slopped onto the dock. Nessie grabbed both Billie and the metal arm, trying to pry the two apart. Everwood elbowed her in the neck, popping her wrist free. "Who in the depths are you people?!"

"Ma'am, if you would let me finish —" The pugilist growled; Shirley backed up. "— We're the Crispy Sex Pirates. We come in peace."

"Sex pirates?"

"Aye. T'is symbolic, you see, of the disparity between the landlubber and the sailor; the shackled and the free; the submissive and the —"

"Is this a joke to you? Why are you here?"

"Listen 'ere, lassie —"

Everwood scowled at him. "Just Everwood to you, Deviant."

"Aye, Just Everwood, 'twould benefit the both of us if I had a shark-puncher on me crew. You reckon you know anyone that might wanna join up?"

"Right now we need all the fighters we can get our hands on. If you and your crew don't want to join us then you're wasting our time."

Captain Shirley laughed. A small chuckle at first, crescendoing into a dry guffaw of hacks and heaves. Everyone went silent.

Everwood watched as chunks of flesh crawled back into the hole in Billie's gut. She turned around and vomited into the water.

Shirley cleared his throat. "Perhaps we can help you." He eyed the mechanical arm. "That's one of them Mark-III Mastiff-type Mugging units, ain't it?"

"What's it to you?" Everwood wiped her mouth.

"What d'you say to an upgrade?"



"And that's how I got my hands on a magic arm."

"Really? What's it do?"

Pugilists Justine Everwood and Haruki Nakahara sat together in the mess hall of Arena-19. Today's cafeteria special was Live Jumbo Lobster. Neither touched their food: both their meals were wrestling in the middle of the table.

"I'm not entirely sure. They juiced it up with some kind of Deviant magicks. It packs a real punch though."

"No way. Did it really happen like that?"

Everwood wiggled her metallic fingers, sparkling in the light. "Yeah. It was the wickedest thing."

"You think you prefer those pirate guys over the Sharkics?"

"Anything is better than fish puns."

The two women laughed, slapping the table in hysterics. One of the Lobsters scurried off the plate, afraid.

Haruki skewered the crustacean to the table with her fork. "So, what else is new?"

"Did you ever hear the story about Marshall, Carter, and Shark?"

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